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Mass Strikes - Essay Example

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Mass Strike: Workmates 2011 Name: Institution: Abstract The workmates experience involves many issues of interest to workplace activists. In the late Eighteenth Century, casualization and threat of outsourcing are some of the key issues that affected both the public and private sector workers…
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Download file to see previous pages In this paper, the writer addresses several issues relating to Workmates 2011. It discusses how and why the 1990s London tube workers organized themselves against threatened privatization, and increasing precarity. It further discusses why the workers’ preferred using outside contractors at the expense unions. As part of this paper, the reasons for the growing ineffectiveness of the workers’ unions, the reasons of organizing outside them, and the new strategies the organizations have developed to address decrease in union power are also discussed in the paper. Introduction The decreasing power of track maintenance workers’ union of London in 1990s, threatened it being outsourced to a private contractor under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme (Ellman, 2010 p7). This new strategy was introduced to cut production cost, by introducing competitive tendering by private contractors to perform the work, which was earlier done by the firms themselves. In addition, it was focused to replace relative job security with insecure and temporary employment that was widespread under “flexible labor market”, and undercut terms and conditions of London Underground staff (Gall, 2003 p79). The 1990s London Underground workers were organized under Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT). Casual staff and third-party contractors were, however, typically not unionized. Private contractors such as RMT, anarchist, and Andy began to use anarcho-syndicalist tactics like on-the-job direct and mass meeting actions to counteract divisions between non-union and union workers, and build resistance to the increasing outsourcing and privatization on the London Underground (McIlroy, 1995 p97). This tactic was mainly focused to divide and rule workforce. Divide and rule of the workforce led to the formation of Workmates collective in late 1998 and early 1999. The first Workplace group was established in London maintenance depot. Policies of the Workplace group allowed all workers to join this group no matter of their union membership. It also set to organize meetings on shop floors, with the workers themselves as the members (Solidarity Federation, 2011 p4). The workmate collective took effect with a delegate council structure, which was set to function for 18 months. Within a period of 18 months, which ran up to mid-2000, members of the workmate collective organized several mass strikes, of which several ones were successful, and this created staff turnover. However, shop meetings were continued, and any worker was allowed to join this group despite of her or his union organization (Solidarity Federation, 2011 p4). Threatened Privatization London Underground drafted and introduced its “Company Plan” in the early 1990s. This plan was intended to bring a number of changes such as changing industrial relations structures, getting rid of some established perks, and reviewing worker’s terms and conditions (Eur, 2002 p608). Additionally, the plan brought recruitment of new workers into stop, since new staff requirements were brought in as outsourced contractors. The new policies were focused on incorporating private sector norms into the firm, so that they would become more attractive to private capital (Eur, 2002 p610). Workers union such as RMT strongly opposed the new Company plan, but they ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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